Son of Albion band teacher brings back recordings from concerts in 1960s, ’70s
ALBION – Moses Sherman was a high-energy band director for Albion from 1950 to 1975. He was a big promoter of Albion’s bands and had concerts recorded as albums to raise funds for the program.
The albums and concerts weren’t limited to the Purple Eagles. Sherman reached out to his friends who led strong programs and they performed at Albion. That includes the Holley Hawks state champion band that was led by Ray Shahin.
Those vinyl records from 40 to 50 years ago have been tucked away in Alec Sherman’s home. About two years ago he thought there might be interest in the community if the records were digitally remastered and released as CDs. Frank Zicari of Albion, a former band student with Moses Sherman, has spent more than a year on the project, re-recording the music and eliminating some of the scratches.
“He was very meticulous,” Alec Sherman said about Zicari. “It was a very time-consuming job.”
Zicari was able to digitally remaster eight of the albums, ranging from 1964 to 1974.
The albums include two from 1964: The Concert of Champions, including The Albion Grenadiers, The Irondequoit Crusaders, Holley Hawks, and The Albion Purple Eagles Marching Band, and the 1964 Spring Concert. Zicari also has remastered CDs from the 1965 Spring Concert, 1967 Spring Concert, 1968 Spring Concert, 1969 Spring Concert, 1973 concerts and 1974 concerts.
Alec Sherman played the cornet, a small brass instrument like a trumpet. He graduated in 1968 and saw first-hand his father’s devotion to the music program.
“It was his baby,” Alec said. “It was his life.”
At times during a 25-year career at Albion, his father led the marching band, the concert band, the senior band, a dance band, intermediate band for seventh- and eighth-graders and even the elementary band.
Moses Sherman was a creative fundraiser, using the albums to generate money for the program. There were also many bake sales and dances – “whatever they could do to raise funds for uniforms,” Alec said.
The remastered CDs are available for $35 each and Sherman will use the proceeds for $500 annual scholarships given each year in memory of his father (to be awarded to a graduating senior who is active in the band program) and also for Alec’s mother, Margaret McKirdy Sherman, who was a teacher at Albion. Her scholarship is a humanitarian award going to a graduate with a record of community service.
Moses Sherman grew up in a small town in Vermont. He earned a degree at Ithaca College and first worked at Tully, a small school district in Central New York. He was hired at Albion in 1950 and stayed until 1975. He finished his career in Massena in northern New York.
Sherman passed away in 1997. His father had tremendous pride in the Albion band, Alec said.
He pulled out a news clipping from 1964 which showed the band came in fifth out of 53 youth bands that competed in Toronto. According to the article, the band had 84 musicians, 17 in color guard and seven twirlers. In 1972, Sherman took the band to England for a competition.
The annual spring concerts were a big deal, too. Sherman not only had other top-ranked local bands join Albion, but he also brought in professional musicians. The May 23, 1969 concert included Dr. Leonard B. Smith, director of the Detroit Concert Band and an “eminent cornet virtuoso.” Rafael Mendez, a professional trumpet player from California, also played in Albion.
“He wanted to show the kids if you work hard, some day you might be able to do what these guys do,” said Alec, who is a retired U.S. history teacher at Albion. He also coached basketball, softball and track.